Nikki Haley offers rare glimpse at a better GOP

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Last night, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley did something extraordinary in delivering what was billed as the GOP’s official response to President Obama’s State of the Union address.

Yes, Haley made clear her disagreements with the president, as the occasion demanded. But her primary target turned out to be those in the Republican Party who wish to lead the party and the country in a dark direction, a direction in conflict with our traditional values. And she used her own story as the daughter of immigrants from India to make that point. (Full transcript here.)

“My story is really not much different from millions of other Americans,” said Haley, whose maiden name was Nimrata Randhawa. “Immigrants have been coming to our shores for generations to live the dream that is America. They wanted better for their children than for themselves. That remains the dream of all of us, and in this country we have seen time and again that that dream is achievable.”

“Today, we live in a time of threats like few others in recent memory. During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation. No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country.”

Those are brave words in today’s Republican Party, and they are necessary words. (In later interviews, she acknowledged that they were directed at Donald Trump, among others.)

Haley went on to recount in moving terms how her state handled the trauma of the church shooting in Charleston, coming together across racial and party lines to take down the Confederate flag that until then was still flying in a place of honor outside the state Capitol.

And she was refreshingly blunt about our future:

“We need to be honest with each other, and with ourselves: While Democrats in Washington bear much responsibility for the problems facing America today, they do not bear it alone. There is more than enough blame to go around.

“We as Republicans need to own that truth. We need to recognize our contributions to the erosion of the public trust in America’s leadership. We need to accept that we’ve played a role in how and why our government is broken.

“And then we need to fix it.”

Haley’s approach could not have come as a surprise to those in the Republican establishment who controlled that speaking assignment and designated her to fill it. They gave her a mission of offering the public at least a glimpse at a more responsible, optimistic GOP, and she carried out that assignment well. But her message did shock and surprise its intended targets, including Trump and his supporters.

Prior to the speech, Haley had been mentioned often as a potential vice presidential nominee, and it will be fascinating to see what impact last night has on those chances. Charles Krauthammer, a far-right commentator who now implausibly passes for the GOP’s sensible middle, lauded her performance as the best SOTU response that he could recall. But at National Review and Breitbart and elsewhere, commenters have been overwhelmingly negative. It’s pretty clear that her words do not match the mood of many in her party.

And that’s what makes them so important. There’s a bitter internal struggle under way over how to define the modern Republican Party, and it’s becoming pretty clear that it won’t be resolved in this election cycle. Haley has taken a stance against the tide of ugliness, and that should be applauded.

 

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312 comments
WardinConyers
WardinConyers

I don't regularly read Bookman.  I was attracted to the title of the column, then realized it was his.  I read on and actually liked it. However, I hated the sniping in these very early morning (4:30 a.m.) moments of the blog.  A lot of what has been written here is incomprehensible and downright stupid.  Beyond the column itself, most of the responses are dreck.

fedup52
fedup52

 Yes, just like concentration camps and Sondereinsatzkommandos were part of the Germans' 'better nature'.

Goebbels would commend your linguistic gyration. 

When you trying to kill cancer you kill lot of good cells too. 

What Nazis did was a deliberate attempt to wipe out the non Aryans.  Big difference.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@fedup52 

What is the 'cancer' that's being eliminated, doctor? 

And what if those making a big show of treating the cancer are the ones actually chiefly responsible for nurturing it and spreading its power?

fedup52
fedup52

@Donnie_Pinko @fedup52 If I have to spell everything out for you why are you here.  Your sarcasm points to the fact you seem to know everything. Go figure it out.

tireOfIt
tireOfIt

13 hours the movie, I thought the cons said no one responded?

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

not much trollin trollin trollin on Victory Lap mic drop day heheheh

gutless

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

The guy who drones children half way around the world and signs off on 'kill lists' calls on America to follow its 'better nature'.


Maybe we should start by prosecuting him.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@Donnie_Pinko

America is a complex place, Donnie, filled with contradictions.  Those drone strikes and kills lists are part of America's 'better nature,' for better and worse.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@Eye wonder @Donnie_Pinko 

Yes, just like concentration camps and Sondereinsatzkommandos were part of the Germans' 'better nature'.

Goebbels would commend your linguistic gyration.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

I figured that would be over your head, Donnie. I figured right, it seems.

Fl0ydLiberal
Fl0ydLiberal

Did any of our resident conservatives voice an opinion about the wayward sailors in Iranian custody? Did any of them suggest giving diplomacy a chance or were they all like their candidates for President - screaming about strength and posturing as bullies?

YouLibs
YouLibs

@NWGAL


This is the perfect example of a rhetorical question.

lvg
lvg

I am sure the 47 traitors and Cotton told the Ayatollah to free those sailors or else.

KUTGF
KUTGF

@Paul42 @gotalife Hopefully, we'll hear a questioner  at the next debate recount what happened, what they said, what President Obama said, then ask, based upon their statement, what they would have done.
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Never going to happen on Fox.  They will never address.  I think we saw only one RWer address it today and he ran away fast with a poor argument. 

Paul42
Paul42

@gotalife

Hopefully, we'll hear a questioner  at the next debate recount what happened, what they said, what President Obama said, then ask, based upon their statement, what they would have done.

Then after the answer note talking about Pres Obama's weakness did not answer the question, but showed America they wanted to avoid answering.

Republican 'debates.'  A microcosm of what happens here.

tireOfIt
tireOfIt

@gotalife They claim to be the party of personal responsibility.  Of course this means for everyone but them.

gotalife
gotalife

Who wants to lead to face angry voters and a media that enables racists, bigots and they help isis recruit?

CommonSenseisntCommon
CommonSenseisntCommon

I hope Nikki Haley is the new face of the GOP I am getting tired of the Grumpy Old Peoples Party LOL

lvg
lvg

@CommonSenseisntCommon Here are her promises:


“We would encourage American innovation and success instead of demonizing them, so our economy would truly soar and good jobs would be available across our country.

“We would reform education so it worked best for students, parents, and teachers, not Washington bureaucrats and union bosses.

“We would end a disastrous health care program, and replace it with reforms that lowered costs and actually let you keep your doctor.""


Someone tell me one bill  passed by GOP and  current Congress to accomplish any of these lofty goals????????

KUTGF
KUTGF

The GOP offered two different responses to President Obama’s final State of the Union speech on Tuesday evening — and the small differences between them reveal an internal conflict over a policy issue that’s especially important to Latino voters.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) offered separate messages in English and Spanish, respectively. In her speech, Haley supported stopping undocumented immigration and even refugee resettlement, while Diaz-Balart’s speech was tailored to a Spanish-speaking audience in favor of immigration reform.

Haley advocated for fixing “our broken immigration system” and appeared to shut the door on refugees “whose intentions cannot be determined.” .... Diaz-Balart’s speech, meanwhile, took a softer approach and called for a humane solution for undocumented immigrants, according to a translation by The Miami Herald
http://thinkprogress.org/immigration/2016/01/13/3738927/nikki-haley-mario-diaz-balart-sotu-response/
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The cowards in the GOP continue to play games. 

The Doom
The Doom

@Peachs @KUTGF


"they think we are stupid."


Yes. We do. And you've done nothing to prove otherwise. 

gotalife
gotalife

Time to get serious about proposals that can pass and how to pay for them. This is the difficult part and the gop will not even try. Hell, they would get primaried if they do. They are stuck.

Peachs
Peachs

We need some young faces on the left..

HDB0329
HDB0329

.....interesting that the GOP bookended Obama's SOTU Addresses with Jindal for the first....Haley at the last....and BOTH of them are disliked in their respective states!! Maybe the GOP needs some new ideas...the old ones are just stale!!

Peachs
Peachs

@HDB0329 reminds me when they moved the Virgin Islands black faces to the front row of their national convention, to give the idea they were friendly to blacks and knew how to spell virgin...

gotalife
gotalife

Clinton wants Sanders to match her proposals with specifics so voters can see their differences..

Peachs
Peachs

@gotalife I keep finding Sanders the fresh voice in all of this.  He was laughing with NBC in an interview last night that he could see himself giving that speech next year, in a very embarrassed honesty of a man who can get away being honest without sounding patronizing 

Peachs
Peachs

@gotalife @Peachs I think they could cut it in half and still perform with this modern stuff. 

gotalife
gotalife

@Peachs @gotalife He needs to step up his proposals and how to pay for them game. Like single payer. He will probably have to cut the military in half to pay for it.